Representing the U.S. in the women’s triathlon on Aug. 4 in Hyde Park will be two-time Olympic qualifier Laura Bennett (Boulder, Colo.) and first-timers Sarah Groff (Hanover, N.H.) and Gwen Jorgensen (Milwaukee, Wis.).
Four-time Olympian Hunter Kemper (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Manuel Huerta (Miami, Fla.) will compete in the Aug. 7 men’s triathlon. In all, the USOC announced a 530-member roster for the 2012 Olympic Games.
“It is an incredible honor to represent the USA in the Olympics. To be able to wear USA across my chest is something I will never forget,” Jorgensen said. “I’m excited to be a part of something that brings not only the USA together, but the entire world together.”
For more on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team, visit USA Triathlon’s Olympic Games coverage page.
Contested in Hyde Park in central London, triathlon is expected to be one of the most anticipated and spectator-friendly events scheduled for the 2012 Olympic Games.
2012 U.S. Olympic Women’s Triathlon Team:
Laura Bennett (37, Boulder, Colo.)
After placing fourth at the Beijing Games, Laura Bennett has been the most consistent U.S. performer on the ITU World Triathlon Series circuit over the past three with nine top-eight finishes from 2010-12. She finished 2011 ranked eighth in the ITU World Triathlon Series rankings and captured her third USA Triathlon Elite National Championship title. Bennett qualified for her second Olympic Team with a third-place finish at the 2012 ITU World Triathlon San Diego on May 11.
Sarah Groff (30, Hanover, N.H.)
Sarah Groff placed seventh at the 2011 London ITU World Triathlon Series event to clinch a spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team. She went on to finish third in the ITU WTS rankings for the first-ever series podium finish by an American. Groff led the U.S. with five top-10 finishes on the WTS circuit in 2011 and was seventh last month at the ITU World Triathlon Kitzbühel for her first top-10 showing in 2012.
Gwen Jorgensen (26, Milwaukee, Wis.)
Gwen Jorgensen burst onto the triathlon scene in 2011 with a runner-up finish at the London ITU World Triathlon Series event to earn a spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team. Her second-place finish on the Olympic course in London is the best-ever showing for a U.S. woman in a WTS event. Jorgensen finished 2011 ranked 11th in the ITU World Triathlon Series rankings and picked up where she left off in 2012 with a fourth-place finish at the ITU World Triathlon Sydney. Jorgensen owns top-eight finishes in 21 of 26 career ITU events and has finished on the podium on nine occasions.
2012 U.S. Olympic Men’s Triathlon Team:
Manuel Huerta (28, Miami, Fla.)
Manuel Huerta was named USA Triathlon’s Elite Athlete of the Year for 2011 and capped his season with a silver medal at the Pan American Games. He finished the year as the No. 3 American in the ITU World Triathlon Series rankings and was the top U.S. men’s performer at the London and Kitzbühel WTS stops. The Cuban-born Huerta earned his Olympic berth with an emotional ninth-place finish at the May 12 ITU World Triathlon San Diego. Since qualifying for London, Huerta has recorded top-five ITU finishes in Dallas and Edmonton.
Hunter Kemper (36, Colorado Springs, Colo.)
One of just three athletes to qualify for all four Olympic triathlons, Hunter Kemper is the top U.S. men’s finisher in all three previous Olympic triathlons with a top showing of seventh in Beijing. Hampered by injury for much of the past three seasons and racing for the first time in seven months, Kemper delivered a fifth-place finish at the 2012 ITU World Triathlon San Diego on May 12 to claim his fourth Olympic berth. He owns U.S. men’s records with seven career USA Triathlon Elite National Championship titles and four career ITU World Cup victories.
Additionally, USA Triathlon announced its team staff for the 2012 Olympic Games. USA Triathlon High Performance General Manager Andy Schmitz (Philadelphia, Pa.) will serve as the women’s coach and team leader for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team, while USA Triathlon Performance Leader Jonathan Hall (Colorado Springs, Colo.) has been named the men’s coach and team manager for the Games.
A veteran of many international multisport events, Schmitz has directed USA Triathlon’s high performance department for the last two years. During that timeframe, he has served as the U.S. team leader and coach at most ITU World Triathlon Series events. Schmitz was a member of the U.S. coaching staff for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and served as the team leader and head coach for the 2010 and 2011 ITU World Championship Series Grand Final, as well as the 2011 Pan American Games.
Since joining the USA Triathlon staff in February, Hall has helped guide U.S. athletes to a pair of ITU World Cup victories and an ITU World Triathlon Series podium finish in 2012. Hall joined USA Triathlon from the Victorian Institute of Sport in Melbourne, Australia, where he served as the triathlon head coach. He previously worked as an assistant coach and specialist coach with Triathlon Australia’s national program, mentoring athletes to a number of world championship titles and an Olympic Games appearance.
Rounding out the team staff is chiropractor Dr. Alex Keith (West Palm Beach, Fla.), massage therapist Kim Kirkland (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and bicycle mechanic Joe Santos (Davis, Calif.).
USA Triathlon Communications & Media Relations Manager John Martin (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and USA Triathlon Director of Marketing & Communications Chuck Menke (Colorado Springs, Colo.) will accompany the team to London in media relations roles.
Courtesy of usatriathlon.org